News and Blog Articles
News and Blog Articles
Two of the services Classic City Arborists is proud to offer can often be confusing: the free estimate service and our Tree Risk Assessments.
Free estimates involve customers asking for our professional opinion on specific projects or individual trees; for more information, please see our Free Estimates article!
Tree Risk Assessments (TRAs), on the other hand, are a lot more intensive, and are subsequently not a free service. During a TRA, a qualified arborist will evaluate all the trees on a given plot of land to assess their risk potential and then advise the owner or manager of the property of which trees may require immediate attention.
But what does that mean?
First of all, you have to be certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) with their Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) to perform a TRA; Scott Rushing proudly earned his TRAQ in January of 2019. His name is listed on the ISA’s Trees are Good website along with all other certified arborists.
To qualify to take the TRAQ course, you have to meet certain requirements as an arborist, such as being an ISA-Certified Arborist or having a degree in arboriculture, forestry, or horticulture. Scott holds a Bachelor's in Agricultural Education from the University of Georgia and is an ISA-Certified Arborist.
The TRAQ itself involves a two-day, instructor-lead educational course, followed by half a day of both written and field assessments. Once completed successfully, the certification is active for five years; TRAQ holders must take a renewal course, which involves an abbreviated version of both the original educational material and test.
What is the TRAQ?
According to the ISA, arborists who successfully complete the TRAQ will:
There are three different levels of intensity when it comes to Tree Risk Assessments. The first level is referred to as a limited-visual assessment, also sometimes referred to as drive-by assessments. This level of assessment is commonly employed in urban forest environments, but can be required anywhere a visual inspection is difficult to perform due to limited access. In a limited-visual assessment, the arborist will scan for obvious high-risk trees with immediate care needs.
These three processes were created to help property owners, property managers, and tree owners get the information they need to make educated decisions regarding the trees in their care, whether that decision is to trim back some limbs, let the tree grow normally, or cut the tree down entirely.
Basically, this means that a TRAQ-holding arborist can accurately and efficiently follow the standardized, systematic process for assessing any tree’s potential risk, as defined by the International Society for Arboriculture. By adhering to the ISA’s guidelines, certified arborists ensure that each risk assessment is as accurate, consistent, and thorough as possible.
When performing a TRA, no matter its level, Scott keeps these benefits and risks in mind, aiming to weigh the two against each other and ensure customers are aware of when the risks outweigh the benefits, and vise versa. He will look at and document a variety of factors pertinent to the decision-making process, including structural condition, tree load, tree adaptation, relation to surrounding structures, and proximity to traffic and populated areas; he will use this information to evaluate a tree’s risk of failure, the degree of that failure, the consequences of that failure, and the potential surrounding targets that may be affected by that failure.
After the evaluation, each tree will receive a risk category that can then be compared to the level of risk that you, as the property owner or manager, find acceptable. The four risk categories are Low, Moderate, High, and Hazard/Hazardous. Low and Moderate risk ratings are not usually recommended for full removal, while High and Hazardous are. Acceptable risk level may be determined by a homeowner’s association, or your town or county (or even state) standards.
Each mitigation option will be detailed out along with its respective cost. This way you can determine, not only which options are more pressing, but also which ones are within your budget. More information on free estimates and what this line-item evaluation will look like can be found here.
At the end of the day, getting a Tree Risk Assessment from Classic City Arborists is one of the best ways to get you have all the information you need about all the trees in your care to ensure they are set to live long, happy, and healthy lives.
If you’d like to schedule a Tree Risk Asessment, please click here!
Emily Casuccio is sister and sister-in-law to Rebekah and Scott Rushing, and has over half a decade of experience in copywriting, copyediting, proofreading, and developmental storyboarding. She's worked with both published and undiscovered authors on both fiction and nonfiction, and takes pride in supporting local businesses. Her passion lies in the written word and helping authors of all capacities realize their dreams and achieve their fullest potential. To learn more about her, read samples of her work, or contact her, visit her online portfolio.
ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification
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